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Unemployment Drops to 8.8 Percent, Labor Department Reports
Apr 1, 2011, 08:41 AM
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The U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs last month, contributing to a decline in the unemployment rate to 8.8 percent - the lowest the figure has been since March 2009. Perhaps more importantly, the jobless rate has fell a full percentage point since November of last year.
However, the overall optimistic report was marred somewhat by less obvious economic figures.
"The number of long-term unemployed - that is, those jobless for 27 weeks or more - remained painfully high, at more than six million," wrote Michael Powell for the New York Times. "The small size of the national labor force remains a pressing concern, reflecting discouragement with the prospects for employment."
Other analysts have pointed out how rising food prices and emerging difficulties in manufacturing supply chains - due to the earthquake in Japan - may further complicate markets in coming months.
However, other surveys released this week found gains in both private sector employment and small business hiring, all of which combined to paint a picture of a gradually improving economy for job seekers and entrepreneurs starting a business.